Netherlands tackles food waste with public-private initiative

Date : 27 March 2018

An ambitious programme to tackle food waste was launched this week in the Netherlands. United Against Food Waste is a collaborative programme aimed at cutting Dutch food waste by 50%.

One of the eye-catching initiatives comes from “Verspilling Is Verrukkelijk” (“Waste Is Delicious”), a group of entrepreneurs developing new products made from food that would otherwise be wasted. They worked with Jumbo to launch an aisle of food-waste products, such as soup made from misshaped vegetables, beer brewed using stale bread or soap produced from orange peel. The store and producers will work with researchers from the Wageningen University & Research team to evaluate the results.

Toine Timmermans, programme manager for sustainable food chains at Wageningen Food & Biobased Research said “This real-life setting will enable Wageningen scientists to examine which approach has the best effect, which types of products and packaging are attractive to consumers, which kinds of consumers opt for surplus products, what the ideal pricing level is, and how to present products in the best possible way.”

The United Against Food Waste programme was kicked off this week by the Taskforce Circular Economy in Food, a collaboration between the Dutch government, FMCG and retail companies and research organisations. This is notable because it is a public-private partnership, which perhaps sets the tone for measures on food waste in other countries.